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  #1  
Old 06-17-2017, 08:03 AM
pvalovich pvalovich is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Posts: 366
Default An iPad Gotcha

Three hours into a late afternoon flight from Sullivan, MO (UUV) to Rostraver, PA (FWQ) VFR at 9.5 on autopilot. Perfect weather but with a rapidly developing line of showers ahead (they weren't there when I took off). Descended to 3.5 to get beneath broken clouds. Thought I hit altitude hold with Nav and Track already selected on the AP. Started playing with Foreflight on the iPad kneeboard on my left leg to figure a way around the precip. Foreflight weather was intermittent, so I was heads down way too long. Finally looked around and I was passing through 2.1K in a slight descent. Still 1000 ft. agl, but was surprised and angry that I had lost situation awareness so badly that I was 1500 ft. below where I thought I was.

Lesson learned - our modern gadgets provide amazingly useful information, but getting and interpreting that info always must be secondary to flying the airplane and ALWAYS being aware of where you are.

Certainly an F grade for my pilot performance. And for those of you reading this who may be thinking new guy mistake - I've been flying accident-free since 1964 with over 8,000 hours, 870 in my RV-8A. Might as well try to learn from the mistakes of others - you can't live long enough to survive them all first hand.
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2017, 08:14 AM
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DaleB DaleB is offline
 
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Thanks for sharing that. As a guy close to the other end of the flight experience spectrum (five years, under 200 hours) it just re-affirms the lessons drummed into me by flight instructors and a couple of mistakes of my own. It certainly removes the temptation to think, "Well, I'd never do something like that".
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  #3  
Old 06-17-2017, 12:45 PM
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turbo turbo is offline
 
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sounds like a case of electro hypnosis.
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  #4  
Old 06-17-2017, 03:01 PM
Chkaharyer99 Chkaharyer99 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Pilot Hill, CA
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Paul,

You're a long way from home. Thanks for sharing.

One problem with reliance on ADSB WX is flying low, especially in the hills or mountains. The ground station reception can be very spotty and unreliable.

Yeah, I figured this out the hard way, even after reading about it and hearing stories like yours.

Fortunately my wife was with me and saw the big anvil shaped cloud before we got too close.

Your story serves to reinforce, "Look outside" and "Fly the airplane".

Glad you're ok. Safe travels.
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  #5  
Old 06-17-2017, 03:48 PM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
 
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Location: NJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvalovich View Post

...

Lesson learned - our modern gadgets provide amazingly useful information, but getting and interpreting that info always must be secondary to flying the airplane and ALWAYS being aware of where you are.

....
Good post thanks for reminding. iPad is my primary EFB and sometimes I do stare at it longer then I should.
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  #6  
Old 06-17-2017, 11:47 PM
Sibirsky Sibirsky is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: New York City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad View Post
Good post thanks for reminding. iPad is my primary EFB and sometimes I do stare at it longer then I should.
Vlad , Do you remember that day over The Gulf of Maine, when we tried to cross over to Nova Scotia ?
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  #7  
Old 06-18-2017, 04:33 AM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sibirsky View Post
Vlad , Do you remember that day over The Gulf of Maine, when we tried to cross over to Nova Scotia ?

I do remember that May 27th. Surely not the day to brag about.
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  #8  
Old 06-18-2017, 08:16 PM
Capt Capt is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Australia
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We can all learn from others experiences, good & bad. With nearly 40 yrs of driving planes I still fly first, then navigate & communicate, was drummed in to me all those years ago .What I do now re an electronic device like an iPad is include it in my scan & like all other instruments I never fixate on just one.

That's a good story, a valuable lesson learned am sure
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  #9  
Old 06-18-2017, 10:42 PM
rplittle rplittle is offline
 
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Location: Seattle, WA
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A good reminder for all of us! Thank you for sharing!
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  #10  
Old 06-19-2017, 01:17 AM
xblueh2o xblueh2o is offline
 
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Location: SF East Bay
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Work flying rule is one guy does the box or whatever, the other guy's only job is to fly the airplane. That becomes a bit harder single pilot as you learned. I have a personal rule when flying single pilot that when I am inside fiddling with electronics that I need to look up every ten seconds or so. Doesn't sound like very long but count off ten seconds with your watch. You should be able to get a couple letters of an identifier or most of a freq tuned, take a peek and then finish. As you found out it is very easy to get fixated on a single problem to the exclusion of other duties. All this wonderful cockpit technology is sometimes a case of "more" not necessarily being "better". Don't get me wrong. I think having the technology is a good thing but you have to be disciplined on how to manage it.
I see this all the time giving flight instruction and it is an example of innocent "better" info dragging your head into the cockpit. Think about when most of us learned way back when tachometers were sweep pointers on a round dial, if we were within the needle width of the desired RPM that was close enough. Now how many times have you watched somebody with a digital tach fiddle with the engine controls to get exactly (or within 5 or so RPM) the RPM they wanted. How long did that take and where were they looking? Not outside. It is so easy to sucked in to playing with the cockpit toys that we forget the main job is to fly the airplane.
Good for you for fessing up and using it as a teaching moment for both yourself and others.
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